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State Rep. Kathy Kennedy OP-ED: Keeping our Kids in School, Safely

Posted on November 15, 2021


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Keeping our Kids in School, Safely

By State Rep. Kathy Kennedy

Last week, parents and students heard welcome news from the governor when he announced that Connecticut will loosen mandatory quarantine requirements for unvaccinated students exposed to the COVID-19 virus and give school districts the option of keeping students in classrooms if they do not develop symptoms.

I have heard from many parents this school year that the mandatory quarantining of their child from school due to possible Covid exposure was harming their child’s education, missing days of school instruction and having parents face difficult stay-at-home work situations to due to a lack of childcare.

The “Screen and Stay” program allows students and staff identified as close contacts to a known COVID-19 case to remain in school, even if they are unvaccinated, as long as they complete and submit a screening form to school each day for 10 calendar days indicating that they are symptom-free.

Unfortunately, the 10-day quarantine, which has been in place since the beginning of the school year suggested when a person is not fully vaccinated and has not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days prior to the current exposure, they remain home in self-quarantine for the recommended 10 days from last exposure to the person diagnosed with COVID-19 or after 7 days with a documented negative test result at day 5 or later, consistent with school district policy.

Children in Milford and Orange were being prohibited from attending school with their peers due to quarantine protocols. Not only is this extremely detrimental to our children’s education, it also puts a significant burden on working families in Connecticut that must find arrangements for their young children staying unexpectedly home for an extended period. The extra burden on our school staff and the emotional toll, specifically on our school nurses who are constantly sending kids home and out in tears who just want to be in school, can no longer be ignored.

As the state representative and member of the legislative committees on Education and Public Health, I have been in constant contact with the area school district during the pandemic on this issue and just since the governor’s announcement last week, the City of Milford plans to adopt the ‘Screen and Stay’ policy while the Town of Orange is looking into the change in policy.

As always, please contact me should you have any questions about this important issue or concerns on any other topics relating to state government at Kathy.Kennedy@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.